UCC Demons head back to the Super League with a spring in their step

Northside basketball giants rebounded from a difficult period to secure a treble this season
UCC Demons head back to the Super League with a spring in their step

2 April 2022; Tala Fam Thiam of UCC Demons in action against Jamie Hayes of EJ Sligo All-Stars during the InsureMyVan.ie Division 1 Final match between EJ Sligo All-Stars and UCC Demons, Cork at the National Basketball Arena in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

THE tears in the eyes of Demons coach Danny O’Mahony told a thousand stories after watching his side grind out a 88-81 win over Sligo All-Stars.

O’Mahony looked tense in the closing minutes when his side lost David Lehane and Kyle Hosford with foul trouble but players like Jack O’Leary and Ryan Murphy came off the bench to nail crucial free-throws.

“I have said basketball is a squad game and we had many heroes out there that helped us get over the line.

“I do not want to sound cocky but I honestly think that we haven’t played to our full potential this season but the goal at the start of the season was all about getting promotion.” 

The Demons' chief was also delighted that his Canadian student Steven Manojovic ended up as MVP of the final.

“Steven has been brilliant both on and off the court for us this season and I thought his four three-pointers in the second half were crucial for us."

Many plaudits also were given to Kyle Hosford by coach O’Mahony as he showed all his experience and craft when Demons needed to steady the ship.

“Kyle hasn’t trained in weeks as he has been getting physio for a knee injury and when most players would have avoided playing he refused to lie down.

“Now that we are in the Super League next season Kyle will want to be part of the team so I guess a good rest is the next plan of attack for him.” 

Sligo All-Stars camp came into the game confident but Demons' resistance was clear to see from tip-off.

“We knew they were fired up as they have a very good side but it was a case of getting among them in the early stages and they never once led us over the four quarters.” 

You could argue that Demons are not ready yet to go back to the Super League. Yet O’Mahony believes his side will be ready to compete.

There is a nucleus of a good squad and I think that playing in the Super League will improve them but for now it’s about enjoying the next couple of days and we will think about the next campaign in the summer.” 

O’Mahony paid tribute to his wife Jodie and daughter Maisie for their backing throughout the season and he didn’t forget mother Norma and father Pat.

“Demons is very much all about family and that’s the reason why I am so emotional as it means so much today to all concerned that we have completed the treble in this division.”

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